“When you are a poor kid from a poor family, religion counts for a lot. And when a priest plays attention to you- it's a big deal. He asks to collect him notes, or tale you to out the trash- you feel special. It's like God asking for help. Maybe it's a little weird, when he tells you a dirty joke- but you got a secret together. So you go along. Then he shows you porno magazines. Then you go along. Then you go along, then you go along- until one day he asks you to jerk him off or give him sexual services and you go along with that too because you feel trapped, because he groomed you. And you don't say 'no' to God right? See, it is important that this is not just physical abuse- it's spiritual abuse too. And when a priest does that to you, he robs you of your faith."
The mentioned dialogues are taken from the earth shaking, OSCAR winning film ‘Spotlight’, released on November, 2015- which was made on a real case study. A case study conducted by the real Spotlight team of The Boston Globe which eventually led them to win the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. However, the film or award winning incident is not the focus here- the subject is.
The real life Spotlight team investigated out the full story about the shocking news, which follows that the Catholic Priests in Boston, Massachusetts were molesting the children over the years. It was a systematic abuse and probably the weirdest of its kind because here the culprits were the priests- the most respected religious leaders in Catholic society.
Now fast forward in Bangladesh- a land far, far away from the Boston of the United States of America- a girl named Nusrat Jahan Rafi, a 19-year-old student, was burned to death in April 2019 after complaining of being sexually harassed by her Madrassa principal. Again, a religious figure is convicted here. Nusrat is not a child, however, she was a student of a religious institution, and thus her incident was alarming.
The lives of the people who are religiously supreme and called by different personas such as Imam/Hujur, Bishop, Pujari, Sadhu, Monks or whatsover- they are bound to follow the norms of managing their lusts. It is the very basic ideology that makes them unique and different from the others who are not immune from the seven (or more) deadly sins.
Although humanity and human race are not entirely immune to their lusts- at least the mass people expect the religious figures to behave according to their respected, holly designations. The weirdest thing is that the people nowadays are forgetting their norms even being fully aware that they are committing horrible, brutal sins.
The earth-shattering findings in Boston’s incident were shocking, however those were comparatively less brutal than the incidents happening over the years in Bangladesh. Here the convicted priests who are proven guilty, are much more brutal and crazy. Nusrat’s killing is a primal example of the vandalism- which saw how vindictively lustful one can be, as the Principal Siraj of Sonagazi Senior Fazil Madrasa brutally burned Nusrat as she refused to entertain Siraj’s lust.
This is not the only case here in Bangladesh. In fact, the scenario is getting worse day by day. Report says almost 500 children got molested in last six months and some of those incidents took place in religious institutions.
If the discussion should aim its focus on a general-based discussion, about six million girls study in Quranic schools known as Madrassas in Bangladesh, which feels extremely reliable to the parents due to their religious faith- also, they are free or very, very cheap. There are two types of madrassas: the government-sponsored Alia schools and private Qawmi schools. Although the Education Ministry ordered that the Madrassa teachers in such female Madrassas must have to be women- however, female teachers represent not more than 30 percent of the total numbers of teachers, at best.
As a result- male teachers are taking advantages of the students and assaulting them on a frequent basis. The victims often feel insecure to speak against the molesters. Quite surprisingly, the number of male victims are also increasing in the male Madrassas- proving not only the molesting religious ‘angels’ are pervert, but also homosexual, even knowing that Islam prohibited homosexuality.
Also, the society is skeptical to admit the crimes of the religious personalities as they believe they are immune to crime, lust and other sins. At the end of the day, the victims often become victims twice when they are blamed for being molested even if they properly follow ‘pardah’ or religious guidance on clothing and appearances.
Nusrat did not choose to be another one in the wrong process of getting blamed- she spoke out, although her throat was burned along with her entire body. The wrath of the molesters were not stopped but at least got public attention to the Boston dwellers, after the Spotlight team’s investigation. In Bangladesh, the dedicated journalists are always reporting and publishing the shocking, disgusting incidents happening everywhere in the country. The real question is, however, when the society would stop their blind trust and raise voices together against the religious pricks- who not only become sinners because of their lust, but the ultimate criminals against the harmony of faith and believe in religion.
The killers of Nusrat have recently been sentenced to death, and that certainly can be seen as the hope for a new vision that no one is above punishment on sexual abuse and molestations- not even the most trusted and faithful ones.